Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] is a potent ligand for selectively labeling alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.
ABSTRACT: The alpha7* (*denotes the possible presence of additional subunits) nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtype is widely expressed in the vertebrate nervous system and implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders that compromise thought and cognition. In this report, we demonstrate that the recently developed fluorescent ligand Cy3-ArIB[V11L;V16A] labels alpha7 nAChRs in cultured hippocampal neurons. However, photobleaching of this ligand during long image acquisition times prompted us to develop a new derivative. In photostability studies, this new ligand, Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A], was significantly more resistant to bleaching than the Cy3 derivative. The classic alpha7 ligand alpha-bungarotoxin binds to alpha1* and alpha9* nAChRs. In contrast, Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] potently (IC(50) 1.8 nM) and selectively blocked alpha7 nAChRs but not alpha1* or alpha9* nAChRs expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Selectivity was further confirmed by competition binding studies of native nAChRs in rat brain membranes. The fluorescence properties of Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] were assessed using human embryonic kidney-293 cells stably transfected with nAChRs; labeling was observed on cells expressing alpha7 but not cells expressing alpha3beta2, alpha3beta4, or alpha4beta2 nAChRs. Further imaging studies demonstrate that Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] labels hippocampal neurons from wild-type mice but not from nAChR alpha7 subunit-null mice. Thus, Alexa Fluor 546-ArIB[V11L;V16A] represents a potent and selective ligand for imaging alpha7 nAChRs.
Project description:Homomeric alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are a well-established, pharmacologically distinct subtype. The more recently identified alpha9 subunit can also form functional homopentamers as well as alpha9alpha10 heteropentamers. Current fluorescent probes for alpha7 nicotinic ACh receptors are derived from alpha-bungarotoxin (alpha-BgTx). However, alpha-BgTx also binds to alpha9* and alpha1* receptors which are coexpressed with alpha7 in multiple tissues. We used an analog of alpha-conotoxin ArIB to develop a highly selective fluorescent probe for alpha7 receptors. This fluorescent alpha-conotoxin, Cy3-ArIB[V11L;V16A], blocked ACh-evoked alpha7 currents in Xenopus laevis oocytes with an IC(50) value of 2.0 nM. Observed rates of blockade were minute-scale with recovery from blockade even slower. Unlike FITC-conjugated alpha-BgTx, Cy3-ArIB[V11L;V16A] did not block alpha9alpha10 or alpha1beta1deltaepsilon receptors. In competition binding assays, Cy3-ArIB[V11L;V16A] potently displaced [(125)I]-alpha-BgTx binding to mouse hippocampal membranes with a K(i) value of 21 nM. Application of Cy3-ArIB[V11L;V16A] resulted in specific punctate labeling of KXalpha7R1 cells but not KXalpha3beta2R4, KXalpha3beta4R2, or KXalpha4beta2R2 cells. This labeling could be abolished by pre-treatment with alpha-cobratoxin. Thus, Cy3-ArIB[V11L;V16A] is a novel and selective fluorescent probe for alpha7 receptors.
Project description:Alpha-conotoxins (alpha-CTxs) are small peptides that are competitive inhibitors of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and have been used to study the kinetics of nAChRs. Alpha-CTx MII, from the venom of Conus magus, has been shown to potently block both rat alpha3beta2 and rat chimeric alpha6/alpha3beta2beta3 cloned nAChRs expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Tetramethylrhodamine (TMR), Bodipy FL, Alexa Fluor 488, and terbium chelates (TbCh) are fluorescent molecules that can be reacted with the N-terminus of the conopeptide to produce fluorescent conjugates. TMR and Bodipy FL were individually conjugated to alpha-CTx MII using different succinimidyl ester amine labeling reactions resulting in the formation of carboxamide conjugates. Alexa Fluor 488 succinimidyl ester conjugation reaction yielded low amounts of conjugate. TbCh was also individually reacted with the N-terminus of MII using the isothiocyanate conjugation reaction resulting in the formation of a thiourea conjugate. The conjugates were purified using reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) and their masses verified by matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization with time-of-flight mass spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF MS). When tested on target nAChRs expressed in Xenopus oocytes, TMR-MII, Bodipy FL-MII, and TbCh-MII potently blocked the response to acetylcholine with slow off-rate kinetics. These fluorescent conjugates can be used to localize specific subtypes of neuronal nAChRs or ligand-binding sites within receptors in various tissue preparations; additionally, they may also be used to study conformational changes in receptors using fluorescence or lanthanide-based resonance energy transfer.
Project description:In the present study, we have electrophysiologically characterized native nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in human chromaffin cells of the adrenal gland as well as their contribution to the exocytotic process. ?-Conotoxin AuIB blocked by 14 ± 1% the acetylcholine (ACh)-induced nicotinic current. ?-Conotoxin MII (?-Ctx MII) exhibited an almost full blockade of the nicotinic current at nanomolar concentrations (IC(50)=21.6 nM). The ?6*-preferring ?-Ctx MII mutant analogs, ?-Ctx MII[H9A,L15A] and ?-Ctx MII[S4A,E11A,L15A], blocked nAChR currents with an IC(50) of 217.8 and 33 nM, respectively. These data reveal that nAChRs in these cells include the ?6* subtype. The washout of the blockade exerted by ?-conotoxin BuIA (?-Ctx BuIA; 1 ?M) on ACh-evoked currents was slight and slow, arguing in favor of the presence of a ?4 subunit in the nAChR composition. Exocytosis was almost fully blocked by 1 ?M ?-Ctx MII, its mutant analogs, or ?-Ctx BuIA. Finally, the fluorescent analog Alexa Fluor 546-BuIA showed distinct staining in these cells. Our results reveal that ?6?4* nAChRs are expressed and contribute to exocytosis in human chromaffin cells of the adrenal gland, the main source of adrenaline under stressful situations.
Project description:Translocation of proteins to different parts of the cell is necessary for many cellular mechanisms as a means for regulation and a variety of other functions. Identifying how these proteins undergo conformational changes or interact with various partners during these events is critical to understanding how these mechanisms are executed. A protocol is presented that identifies conformational changes in a protein that occur during translocation while overcoming challenges in extracting distance information in very different environments of a living cell. Only two samples are required to be prepared and are observed with one optical setup. Live-cell FRET imaging has been applied to identify conformational changes between two native cysteines in Bax, a member of the Bcl-2 family of proteins that regulates apoptosis. Bax exists in the cytosol and translocates to the mitochondria outer membrane upon apoptosis induction. The distance, r, between the two native cysteines in the cytosolic structure of Bax necessitates the use of a FRET donor-accepter pair with R0~r as the most sensitive probe for identifying structural changes at these positions. Alexa Fluor 546 and Dabcyl, a dark acceptor, were used as FRET pairs - resulting in single color intensity variations of Alexa-546 as a measure of FRET efficiency. An internal reference, conjugated to Bax, was employed to normalize changes in fluorescence intensity of Alexa Fluor 546 due to inherent inhomogeneities in the living cell. This correction allowed the true FRET effects to be measured with increased precision during translocation. Normalization of intensities to the internal reference identified a FRET efficiency of 0.45±0.14 in the cytosol and 0.11±0.20 in the mitochondria. The procedure for the conjugation of the internal reference and FRET probes as well as the data analysis is presented.
Project description:Several ganglionic nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) types are abundantly expressed in nonneuronal locations, but their functions remain unknown. We found that keratinocyte alpha7 nAChR controls homeostasis and terminal differentiation of epidermal keratinocytes required for formation of the skin barrier. The effects of functional inactivation of alpha7 nAChR on keratinocyte cell cycle progression, differentiation, and apoptosis were studied in cell monolayers treated with alpha-bungarotoxin or antisense oligonucleotides and in the skin of Acra7 homozygous mice lacking alpha7 nAChR channels. Elimination of the alpha7 signaling pathway blocked nicotine-induced influx of 45Ca2+ and also inhibited terminal differentiation of these cells at the transcriptional and/or translational level. On the other hand, inhibition of the alpha7 nAChR pathway favored cell cycle progression. In the epidermis of alpha7-/- mice, the abnormalities in keratinocyte gene expression were associated with phenotypic changes characteristic of delayed epidermal turnover. The lack of alpha7 was associated with up-regulated expression of the alpha3 containing nAChR channels that lack alpha5 subunit, and both homomeric alpha9- and heteromeric alpha9alpha10-made nAChRs. Thus, this study demonstrates that ACh signaling through alpha7 nAChR channels controls late stages of keratinocyte development in the epidermis by regulating expression of the cell cycle progression, apoptosis, and terminal differentiation genes and that these effects are mediated, at least in part, by alterations in transmembrane Ca2+ influx.
Project description:Fungi-forming biofilm would produce various toxins in food. The toxin contamination will cause great harm to food and human health. Herein, a novel graphene-based steganographic aptasensor was assembled for multifunctional applications, which depended on the specific recognition and information encoding ability of DNA aptamers [mycotoxins, including zearalenone (ZEN) and ochratoxin A (OTA) aptamers, as models] and the selective absorption and fluorescence quenching capacities of graphene oxide (GO). The graphene-based steganographic aptasensor can be regarded as an information encryption and steganographic system using GO as a cover, aptamers for specific target recognition as information carriers and dual targets (ZEN and OTA) as special keys. In our work, the fluorescence of capture probes (Cy3 aptamer and Alexa Fluor 488 aptamer) was quenched by GO to realize information encryption. In the presence of dual targets in the GO-APT solution, Cy3 aptamer (APT1), and Alexa Fluor 488 aptamer (APT2) were released from the surface of GO, decrypting the hidden information. In addition, our work offers a sensor for rapid and sensitive simultaneous fluorescence determination of ZEN and OTA. The detection limit of the aptasensor was 1.797 ng/ml for ZEN and 1.484 ng/ml for OTA. In addition, the graphene-based steganographic aptasensor can be used to construct a molecular logic gate system in which GO, aptamers, and mycotoxins are employed as the input and compounds and fluorescence signals were used as the output. This would be helpful to control the biofilm toxin in the future.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play an important role in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. However, there are currently no suitable positron emission tomography (PET) radioligands for imaging alpha7 nAChRs in the intact human brain. Here we report the novel PET radioligand [11C]CHIBA-1001 for in vivo imaging of alpha7 nAChRs in the non-human primate brain. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A receptor binding assay showed that CHIBA-1001 was a highly selective ligand at alpha7 nAChRs. Using conscious monkeys, we found that the distribution of radioactivity in the monkey brain after intravenous administration of [11C]CHIBA-1001 was consistent with the regional distribution of alpha7 nAChRs in the monkey brain. The distribution of radioactivity in the brain regions after intravenous administration of [11C]CHIBA-1001 was blocked by pretreatment with the selective alpha7 nAChR agonist SSR180711 (5.0 mg/kg). However, the distribution of [11C]CHIBA-1001 was not altered by pretreatment with the selective alpha4beta2 nAChR agonist A85380 (1.0 mg/kg). Interestingly, the binding of [11C]CHIBA-1001 in the frontal cortex of the monkey brain was significantly decreased by subchronic administration of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist phencyclidine (0.3 mg/kg, twice a day for 13 days); which is a non-human primate model of schizophrenia. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The present findings suggest that [11C]CHIBA-1001 could be a novel useful PET ligand for in vivo study of the receptor occupancy and pathophysiology of alpha7 nAChRs in the intact brain of patients with neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:Several nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunits have been engineered as fluorescent protein (FP) fusions and exploited to illuminate features of nAChRs. The aim of this work was to create a FP fusion in the nAChR alpha7 subunit without compromising formation of functional receptors.A gene construct was generated to introduce yellow fluorescent protein (YFP), in frame, into the otherwise unaltered, large, second cytoplasmic loop between the third and fourth transmembrane domains of the mouse nAChR alpha7 subunit (alpha7Y). SH-EP1 cells were transfected with mouse nAChR wild type alpha7 subunits (alpha7) or with alpha7Y subunits, alone or with the chaperone protein, hRIC-3. Receptor function was assessed using whole-cell current recording. Receptor expression was measured with (125)I-labeled alpha-bungarotoxin (I-Bgt) binding, laser scanning confocal microscopy, and total internal reflectance fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy.Whole-cell currents revealed that alpha7Y nAChRs and alpha7 nAChRs were functional with comparable EC(50) values for the alpha7 nAChR-selective agonist, choline, and IC(50) values for the alpha7 nAChR-selective antagonist, methyllycaconitine. I-Bgt binding was detected only after co-expression with hRIC-3. Confocal microscopy revealed that alpha7Y had primarily intracellular rather than surface expression. TIRF microscopy confirmed that little alpha7Y localized to the plasma membrane, typical of alpha7 nAChRs.nAChRs composed as homooligomers of alpha7Y subunits containing cytoplasmic loop YFP have functional, ligand binding, and trafficking characteristics similar to those of alpha7 nAChRs. alpha7Y nAChRs may be used to elucidate properties of alpha7 nAChRs and to identify and develop novel probes for these receptors, perhaps in high-throughput fashion.
Project description:The ligand-binding activity of integrins is regulated by shape changes that convert these receptors from a resting (or inactive) state to an active state. However, the precise conformational changes that take place in head region of integrins (the site of ligand binding) during activation are not well understood. The portion of the integrin beta subunit involved in ligand recognition contains a von Willebrand factor type A domain, which comprises a central beta-sheet surrounded by seven alpha helices (alpha1-alpha7). Using site-directed mutagenesis, we show here that point mutation of hydrophobic residues in the alpha1 and alpha7 helices (which would be predicted to increase the mobility of these helices) markedly increases the ligand-binding activity of both integrins alpha5beta1 and alpha4beta1. In contrast, mutation of a hydrophilic residue near the base of the alpha1 helix decreases activity and also suppresses exposure of activation epitopes on the underlying hybrid domain. Our results provide new evidence that shifts of the alpha1 and alpha7 helices are involved in activation of the A domain. Although these changes are grossly similar to those defined in the A domains found in some integrin alpha subunits, movement of the alpha1 helix appears to play a more prominent role in betaA domain activation.
Project description:Zero mode waveguide (ZMW) nanoapertures efficiently confine the light down to the nanometer scale and overcome the diffraction limit in single molecule fluorescence analysis. However, unwanted adhesion of the fluorescent molecules on the ZMW surface can severely hamper the experiments. Therefore a proper surface passivation is required for ZMWs, but information is currently lacking on both the nature of the adhesion phenomenon and the optimization of the different passivation protocols. Here we monitor the influence of the fluorescent dye (Alexa Fluor 546 and 647, Atto 550 and 647N) on the non-specific adhesion of double stranded DNA molecule. We show that the nonspecific adhesion of DNA double strands onto the ZMW surface is directly mediated by the organic fluorescent dye being used, as Atto 550 and Atto 647N show a pronounced tendency to adhere to the ZMW while the Alexa Fluor 546 and 647 are remarkably free of this effect. Despite the small size of the fluorescent label, the surface charge and hydrophobicity of the dye appear to play a key role in promoting the DNA affinity for the ZMW surface. Next, different surface passivation methods (bovine serum albumin BSA, polyethylene glycol PEG, polyvinylphosphonic acid PVPA) are quantitatively benchmarked by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy to determine the most efficient approaches to prevent the adsorption of Atto 647N labeled DNA. Protocols using PVPA and PEG-silane of 1000?Da molar mass are found to drastically avoid the non-specific adsorption into ZMWs. Optimizing both the choice of the fluorescent dye and the surface passivation protocol are highly significant to expand the use of ZMWs for single molecule fluorescence applications.